Why a British Supermarket Will Ban Glitter From Greeting Cards

Not all that glitters is gold.


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With growing environmental consciousness, 2018 saw the demise of the plastic straw. More and more businesses across the world are banning various plastic goods including straws, bags, packing materials, and more. In the upcoming year, popular British supermarket chain Waitrose plans to go after another environmental enemy: glitter.

Waitrose & Partners has pledged to ban glitter from all of its own-brand items by Christmas 2020. Its own-label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers, and plants will either be glitter-free or use an environmentally friendly alternative. Glitter is made up of little pieces of plastic, and when washed off, the bits can end up in the water where they will never break down.

According to Tor Harris, Head of CSR, health and agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, “Reducing the impact of plastics on the environment is something our customers care passionately about. While it is important to eliminate the use of glitter, we will find other ways to make sure our products sparkle at Christmas and throughout the year.”

Different institutions across the UK are joining the glitter ban. Numerous preschools have joined the ban, as well as music festivals and even BBC television program Strictly Come Dancing banned the use of traditional glitter. Retailer Marks and Spencer recently rolled out a trial of the world's first biodegradable glitter which M&S is using on plants for their sparkling chrysanthemum gift bags.

Waitrose has a history of being a trailblazer for environmental changes. In 2016, they became the first supermarket to cut plastic in their beauty department by substituting plastic cotton buds for biodegradable ones. The plastic microbeads are recognized to have a serious adverse effect on marine ecosystems.

The chain has also made moves toward having their own brand packaging made from recycled, reusable, or home compostable materials. The change is expected to take place between 2023-2025, during which time they will replace 11,000 tons of nonrecycled plastic with sustainable alternatives.

Don’t worry - your Christmas and New Year will still sparkle in 2020. Biodegradable forms of glitter are being developed and tested out. By next Christmas, you can have glittery gifts without any guilt.

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